Digital marketers' goal should be display/search integration

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The 10-year budget battle between display and search marketing appears to have come to a close, giving way to an integrated approach to online advertising. Multiple studies pointing to an increase in lift and ROI can be credited for broker­ing the truce.

According to ComScore, superior per­formance is achieved when search and display campaigns are run simultaneously. In fact, the lift of an integrated effort is greater than running an individual search or display campaign, or even the sum of two independent campaigns.

The Microsoft Adcenter Community site has released similar results from three European case studies.

“The combination of search and display in an online schedule was up to 15 times more effective than the display or search elements in isolation,” noted Nick Drew, search research manager for Microsoft.

In the firm's most recent case study, consumers were 50% more likely to search for branded terms when previously exposed to a display ad that included the branded terms.

But, effective symbiosis between search and display requires that marketers appre­ciate the strengths of each medium.

“Behavioral and run-of-network buys build brand awareness and drive new customer acquisition, while search cap­tures those customers and funnels them towards purchase,” said Alison Childers, account leader at Range Online Media.

Tactically speaking, marketers are encouraged to align flight dates and mes­saging for best results.

“We ran a campaign of this type and layered on remessaging to close the sales gap, and we witnessed the contribution to total site revenue up more than 33% over the previous year,” Childers noted.

Renee Markova, director of Internet strat­egy for Rasmussen College Inc., stressed the importance of the landing page.

“Our landing pages mimic our display ads and are being tested to find the best converting combination,'' Markova said. With search campaigns, “our ad creative is mimicked on our landing page and tested to observe the best combination to drive quality engagements,” she added.

Two of the greatest challenges to inte­gration are time and resources. The only downside of sophisticated analytics, Mark­ova said, is that “the opportunities are endless and that can be daunting. There is always more that can be done.”

Rob Murray, president of iProspect, likens integration to a soccer game.

“When the players integrate, it's a beautiful thing,” he said. “And it results in superior performance and a competitive advantage for the entire team.”

The CMO is the “coach” in the game, he added. “To truly push [integration] forward and reap its benefits, the CMO [must] have a strategic plan, break down the silos, eliminate the obstacles that get in the way, and create a culture that rewards integrated efforts,” he said.

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